Test for ERP Success: The Value of Testing/QA in ERP Implementations
Organizations invest heavily in ERP systems to achieve enterprise cost reductions and productivity enhancements. Before realizing their intended results, these projects are famously fraught with frequent cost overruns and time delays. The SDI Team brings over 20 years of experience in complex ERP implementations and share their observations on critical factors that determine project success. In this first in a blog series on ERP implementation testing best practices, SDI’s Lori Mueller examines testing concepts and lessons learned from a recent implementation of SAP:
Usually, implementation schedules focus on getting the solution up and running – while assuming everything will work or can be fixed as needed during and after go-live. What are the three main tasks that most ERP implementations leave to the last minute or don’t focus enough time and energy towards? Documentation, Training, and Testing. I’ll leave the concepts of Documentation and Training for another blog.
Why test? It’s a reasonable question. Testing ensures that the solution being implemented works and that it meets the business requirements set forth before the solution was selected, purchased, and implemented. Clients will want to determine how the solution handles their critical business needs, and then test to validate that everything is as you expect – both positive and negative scenarios. Sounds easy – but you would be surprised.
It is common that the selected ERP solution will have its own testing scenarios and provide a foundation for more extensive testing. If you are using an implementation partner associated with the software vendor, they may utilize their own testing methodology tools as well as scenarios provided by the vendor with little or no customization. The expectation is that any available testing materials/processes will be used unless there is major customization. For ERP solutions, this may not be enough to be effective. Testing should be tailored according to the organization’s business requirements as well as how the application is designed to work within its unique environment.
Testing does have additional benefits whether the solution is customized or configured out of the box. Testing can set the foundation for training efforts for both support teams and end users. It can be used to further identify changes to application configuration before go-live or enhancements for future phases. Properly defined test scripts can also be modified to become training guides and job aids.
In future testing blogs, I will focus on the process and the following topics:
- Organization and prioritization of business requirements
- Definition of test scenarios
- Identification of test by testing phase
- Creation of test plans
- Identification and creation of data needs for testing
- Creation of test scripts with pre-requisites and expected results
- Review of test scripts with client/vendor
- Determination of testing rounds including number of retests
- Determination of test data refresh schedules
- Execution of test scenarios
- Testing to fail
- Final approval with client
To learn more about our comprehensive ERP services, contact SDI.
About SDI guest blogger: Lori Mueller
A certified PMP and PMI-ACP, Lori Mueller has over 30 years of experience in enterprise IT deployments in large public and private sector clients.